Students showcase passion for wine

Cheers to the protégé programme.

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme has taken on five new oenology protégés, who will spend three years under the mentorship of members of the guild. In addition to this, a viticultural protégé will also take part in a two-and-a-half year internship under the Cape Winemakers Guild/ VinPro Viticulture Protégé Programme.

The Cape Winemakers Guild membership includes 41 of the best winemakers in South Africa currently, and provides the opportunity for ongoing learning among members. It aims to facilitate meaningful transformation within the South African wine industry.

Launched in 2007, the programme has enrolled 30 protégés, 20 of whom are now working in the South African wine industry. The following students have been accepted into the 2019 winemaking programme: Candice Barnes, from Crawford; Michael Topkin, from Simon’s Town; Roger Cloete, from Paarl; Kelsey Shungking, from Parklands; Victoria Davis, from Paarl; and Lucrecia Africa, from Delft.

The programme, funded by the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust, aims to cultivate the next generation of award-winning winemakers, as well as empower students while promoting transformation within the industry.

Each protégé is mentored by a different member of the guild for one year, allowing them to learn the science and art of wine making and gain first-hand experience of the inner workings of the cellar.

This knowledge is put into practice when second year protégés produce their own wines, and travel to France to further enhance their winemaking experience.

The viticulture protégés are also mentored by members of the guild, and receive practical training in the intricacies of cultivation techniques to ensure high-end grape quality for different wine types and styles.

“The protégés develop their skills while being exposed to different terroirs and styles of wine. This gives them invaluable experience and a firm foundation upon which to build their careers,” says Magda Vorster, protégé programme facilitator.

“The guild members play a role in inspiring the protégé intern to strive for perfection, passion and excellence in winemaking so that they may be able to produce award-winning wines.” Former protégé, Rudger van Wyk, was recently awarded the title of 2018 Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year.

The protégés will spend time among the vines and cellars at wine properties such as Hartenberg, Mullineux Family Wines, De Grendel, Cederberg, DeMorgenzon, Neil Ellis, Beyerskloof and Stellenzicht.